Sodium Buildup in Brain Linked to Disability in MS Patients

chemists and physicists to develop techniques to perform [3 Tesla] sodium MRI on patients,” Wafaa Zaaraoui, research officer at the National Center for Scientific Research, said in the news release. “To better understand this disease, we need to probe new molecules. The time has come for probing brain sodium concentrations.”

The MRI results for patients with early stage relapsing-remitting MS revealed abnormally high levels of sodium in certain areas of the brain, including the brainstem, cerebellum, and temporal pole. High sodium accumulation was found throughout the entire brains of patients with advanced forms of the disease—even in brain tissue that appeared to be normal, the researchers found.

“In [relapsing-remitting MS] patients, the amount of sodium accumulation in gray matter associated with the motor system was directly correlated to the degree of patient disability,” said Zaaraoui.

The study authors suggested that their findings might help drug companies in developing new MS treatments.

“Brain sodium MRI can help us better understand the disease and monitor the occurrence of neuronal injury in MS patients and possibly in patients with other brain disorders,” Jean-Philippe Ranjeva, professor of neuroscience at Aix-Marseille University, concluded in the news release.

Although the study uncovered an association between sodium buildup in the brain and MS disability, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

If you have advanced MS, don’t give up hope as there are treatments still readily available to you. For more information on this condition, visit our Health Conditions tab on BlackDoctor.org.

SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America, news release, July 17, 2012